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New child safety seat law in effect

ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Public Health and the Georgia State Patrol are partnering to “Give Kids a Boost.” This statewide campaign is aimed at educating parents of the new state law that took effect July 1 that requires children up to 8-years-old to be properly secured in an approved car or booster seat.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children across the country, and booster seats can reduce fatal injuries by nearly 60 percent.

“The innovative partnership between Public Health and the Georgia State Patrol allows us to educate more parents on this simple yet effective safety measure that could save their child’s life,” said Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health. “Thanks to the support of our statewide and local partners, we can better protect Georgia’s children with a strong booster seat law.”

The new law brings Georgia in line with the age recommendations of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration by raising the mandatory booster seat age to eight. Georgia is already one of 47 states that require booster seats or other appropriate devices for children who have outgrown their car seats but are still too small to use an adult seat belt safely.

Colonel Bill Hitchens, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said Georgia State Troopers routinely conduct safety checks and other public outreach efforts to inform drivers of the need to properly restrain children while they travel.

“A traffic crash can occur at any time and under any travel conditions, so it is vital that children are properly restrained at all times in a motor vehicle to prevent serious injuries,” he said. “Children do not know they are at risk and adults must take the proper steps to keep them safe. ’Give Kids a Boost’ is a unique partnership between two state agencies with the common goal of protecting children.”

Help with car safety seat installation

Parents can have their car safety seats checked to make sure they are installed correctly by visiting the Decatur County Health Department at 928 S. West St. Parents who are interested should call the Health Department at 248-3055 to make an appointment.

State troopers with the Georgia State Patrol’s Colquitt, Ga., post—who cover Decatur, Seminole, Miller and Early counties—are also available by appointment to help with child safety seats. To set up an appointment, call the Colquitt GSP Post at (229) 758-2651. For the GSP post that covers Grady, Mitchell and Thomas counties, call (229) 225-4000.

For more information on child safety in vehicles and to see all of the new recommendations, visit www.nhsta.gov/Safety/CPS